A bill that would block car manufacturers from selling cars directly to customers has made it out of committee in North Carolina.
The bill doesn’t mention Tesla directly, but selling cars without a dealer is key to the firm’s business model.
“They’re trying to insulate the dealer franchise model from any competition,” said Diarmuid O’Connell, Tesla’s vice president for corporate and business development, who traveled to Raleigh to make a presentation to the committee. “It’s a protectionist move to lock down the market so we have to go through the middleman – the dealer – to sell our cars.”
The North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association supports the bill. Other state’s have discussed similar legislation. Texas has a some restrictions on operations like Tesla, prohibiting sales people from discussing price and making customers order the car online.